So the bond passed. What to think of this?
First: All I have done is compile research and put it out there so that if others wanted to know, it would be available with a google search. I wish that I could have done more, but many of you did take it upon yourselves to spread the word and inform others and organize your own groups around this issue. My heart is full today with gratitude for that.
So the bond passed. From the start, for me, this has been an education endeavor. I accomplished my goal. To that end, I far exceeded my initial expectations, actually. How about you all? Do you feel it was a waste of your time and energy helping me spread the information, when it didn’t bring in the final results we all wanted? Did you accomplish anything at all? YOU BET YOU DID! Here’s a little breakdown:
1 – The last statewide general obligation bond passed with nearly 74% of the vote, so we came into this expecting that perhaps 26% would vote against the bond if we did nothing. Every single vote above 26% against the bond this time is credited to this little word of mouth campaign (by that I mean, YOU ALL). Last night’s bond passed with 65.56% of the vote, 34.44% voting AGAINST. In real numbers: 736,488 voted against this bond yesterday – 180,533 votes above the 26% that might have been expected otherwise. 180,533 people!!
2 – The highest my post reach on social media has gotten is 83,000 people in a week. The average throughout this campaign was probably about 40 thousand weekly. I NEVER reached 180,000 people. It just didn’t happen. Beyond a doubt, with certainty, all of YOU took the information shared here and more than doubled its reach and impact to actually change minds about voting for this!
3 – We know that “Connect NC” campaign spent about $2 million dollars (we are likely to find that number was much higher once we see the final campaign finance report, but we’ll say $2 million for now). They received a total of 1,401,801 votes FOR the bond. That means that they spent 1.42 for every vote they received. THIS campaign spent around $2,000 and received 736,488 votes AGAINST. That amounts to 2/1000ths of a dollar (.002) for every vote received. It’s safe to say that our money went MUCH further! In other words, it required a lot of funds for fancy marketing for them to sell this scheme to voters.
4 – Do you know that in one county, the bond was voted DOWN? Pender County, home of NC House Rep. Chris Millis, who has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the bond among legislators. The bond lost there, 54.87% AGAINST!
What does all of this tell us? To throw in the towel because we know going forward that the fight for fiscal accountability is a losing battle? NOT AT ALL! All of this tells us that our message RESONATES with the people of this state when it is made available for them to hear it!
The results from last night are a great improvement from the results seen 15 years ago. So I feel pretty good about the results of this. Changing hearts and minds about “business as usual” politics doesn’t happen in one election cycle. It is my hope that others have been empowered with information and will continue to watch NC’s fiscal practices, including how this bond money is spent.
Going forward, if we want to have a fiscally responsible state, we desperately need to look at reforms to the NC treasurer’s office. The location of over $30 billion from the Teachers and State Employees’ Pension Fund is unknown to anyone outside of Janet Cowell and a handful of private hedge fund managers, none of whom are disclosing where the money is. That’s one third of the pension fund! The legislature has not taken the proper steps to require the disclosure of the funds. Can you imagine if legislators received 180,000 calls next session about taking the proper steps for pension transparency reform?? Wow, what a difference that would make. The entire teachers/state employees pension fund is controlled by ONE person. North Carolina is one of the last states that has not turned control of the state’s pension over to a board of trustees with documented meetings for decision making, leaving behind the practice of a sole fiduciary operating in secrecy. See the links if you want more information about it. I would appreciate hearing your feedback as well, simply “reply” to this email.
Great work, you all. I wish I had the words to even begin to express my gratitude for all of the support.